Posts Tagged ‘snow’

Heading East

28th December 2010 by Helen

Our original plan was to spend a few days in one spot, getting back into the routine of camping, while catching up on some of the planning and preparation we want to do around the next couple of legs of the trip.  However, with the snow falling more heavily and the forecast for even more snow and colder weather to come in the next few days we decided to postpone the planning stuff and travel a little further first.

After discussions with Carl & Marilyn, our first plan was to head east and pick up on some of the key points in the historic Lewis & Clark trail, then south a little to see some of Montana’s ghost towns, recommended by Sorin & Ann, before heading east again to see some of the magnificent geological features in Yellowstone Park in the north west of Wyoming, working our way south to Utah, California, Arizona and New Mexico.

[27th December] Back on Interstate 90 we headed east.  We were charmed by Washington’s road side decorations.  Where the I90 runs through flat open ground, every couple of hundred yards we were delighted to see big bold Christmas decorations in the fields lining the roads.  There were Christmas trees, baubles, a Jack in the Box, a Nativity Scene, angels, snowman, and many many others.

camping on the Interstate 90

camping on the Interstate 90

However our attempts to find a campsite were less delightful.  We checked the maps we had and entered some of the areas run by the Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Service, where camping on public ground is permitted and free.  Except that most of the roads have been closed to wheeled vehicles for the winter.  Only snowmobiles, skis and snowshoes allowed.  After realising this was going to be a pattern repeated we headed off east on the I90 again, deciding to pitch up at one of the Interstate rest areas and hope for better luck the next day.

[28th December] The next day we found pretty much the same story, forestry areas are open but not to four wheel traffic.  We check the details for Yellowstone Park more closely.  Although billed as open all year round, the roads are closed to wheeled traffic in the winter.  We either have to hire a snowmobile or opt for a special snowbus tour.  Both are out of our price range and not really what we wanted to do.  Sadly, we crossed Yellowstone off our route list.  And opt for another Rest Area on the I90 again that night.  We recognise this particular Rest Area – we stayed here one night when we came through in the Jeep.  By now we had passed through the north of Idaho and reached Montana.

Campsite – I90 rest area in Montana

Distance travelled – 191

Snoqualmie

27th December 2010 by Helen

It was with much sadness we left Seattle behind, having renewed friendships and made new friends, all of whom we look forward to keeping in touch with in the future.  But we are on a journey and sooner or later we would have to pick up the mantle and move on again.

And so it was, on Boxing Day (in the UK), two months after we first arrived on these shores, we packed up the car and headed off, as we had planned, back to Snoqualmie, where we had been with the local Land Rover club the previous week.  By the time we arrived daylight was fading so we headed straight for a spot where we had seen some campers the previous week and put up our roof tent.  It’s a long wide space, and just ahead we can see the signs indicating there is a closed road here.

It was cold and snowing.  We realised we were right underneath some power lines.  Looking up the lines glowed a faint green in the gloom beneath the stars.  The electrical buzzing sounded like a waterfall was only a few metres away.  Less pleasant, the ground below us was very wet with lots of puddles.  We decided we’d find somewhere better in the morning and so did not bother to put up the ground tent.

We ate a traditional Boxing Day meal – left over chicken from Christmas dinner, followed by mandarins and chocolate mousse desserts – accompanied by the twinkling lights of Landy’s very own Christmas tree, a personal gift to him from Carl.

Snuggled up in our sleeping bags under the duvet we were warm and comfortable, lulled to sleep by the sound of the artificial waterfall above our heads.

CLANG!!  CLANG!!  CLANG!!

evidence of snow overnight in Snoqualmie

evidence of snow overnight in Snoqualmie

We were being roughly woken by the sound of someone banging hard on the aluminium roof ladder.  Paul peered out to find a torch being shone in his face.  “Washington State Police.  You are trespassing on a private road that belongs to the electricity company.”  A few exchanges later and we go back to sleep.  We’ve agreed to move in the morning.  No problem, we’d planned to anyway.

Next morning we wake to see six inches of snow has fallen in the night.  The trees are bowing under the weight and occasionally drop their load of snow and spring back into place with, if you believe trees have feelings, some relief.  We cook breakfast and chat with a local man who is out walking his dogs.  Three border collies, one black and white retired search and rescue dog, two brown and white.  He later emails us with his contact details, saying that if anyone is passing this way in future he is happy to share a beer and offer a bed for the night.

Eventually we move on.

Campsite – Snoqualmie

Distance travelled – 50 miles

Snow Day

18th December 2010 by Helen

Click on each thumbnail to see the whole picture.

A day out with Cascade Rovers, the local Land Rover Club in Seattle, gave us the opportunity to try out Landy in the snow, getting stuck in a snowdrift in Snoqualmie National Park, and getting pulled out again.

On the way we saw lots of other vehicles on the road heading out the same way, with snow bikes and skis, as well as a few other 4×4 off-road vehicles, so it was no surprise to see it was pretty busy in places.

We headed up the hills through the snow covered roads.  A few vehicles had been ahead of us but eventually we came to the end of the tracks in the now.  It was pretty obvious why looking at the snow drift in front of us.  A few of us tried getting through, including Paul in Landy to the point where he had to be pulled back out of the snow again!!  The local Jeep off-road club got through shortly after us.  We were mollified by the thought that they were well equipped for the task.  The Jeeps had heavily adapted suspensions and were well kitted out with some mean looking winches and recovery kit, while the Land Rovers were pretty much all as standard making it a much tougher task for them.

In the meantime, we found another route through the forest, got stuck several times, pulled each other out a few times and generally had fun, before heading back into town for a late lunch at North Bend Bar & Grill.

See the photos here and on Facebook!!